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Ted Baker chiefs quit after "most challenging year" in its history

Tom Bottomley
10 December 2019
Ted Baker CEO Lindsay Page and chairman David Bernstein have stood down capping a crisis-filled year for the premium lifestyle brand, which has also issued another profit warning and scrapped a shareholder dividend pay-out.

Chief financial officer Rachel Osborne, who recently joined the business from Debenhams, is moving in to the CEO role on an interim basis, and the search for a new CEO will commence in January 2020. Sharon Baylay has been hired as acting chair.

Page, the brand's long-standing COO who was appointed following the departure of Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin in March of this year, commented: "I would like to thank everyone at Ted Baker whom I have had the pleasure of working with since 1997. In particular, I am grateful for the team's support over the last 12 months.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ray Kelvin for the opportunity he gave me 22 years ago to join this fantastic brand and help to achieve his vision of creating a truly international business. Ted Baker continues to be a very strong global brand and I wish Rachel Osborne and the rest of the team every success in achieving further growth."

The resignations were announced as Ted scrapped its shareholder dividend payout and said it is now expecting annual pre-tax profits of between £5 million and £10 million after worse-than-expected trading in November and over Black Friday. This compares with pre-tax profits of £50.9 million the previous year.

Ted Baker said the past year has been the “most challenging in our history”, while its trading troubles were laid bare as it reported a -5.5% drop in retail sales with currency effects stripped out for the 17 weeks to 7 December.

It confirmed it has hired consultants Alix Partners to carry out a review of the group’s operational efficiency, costs and business model as part of an urgent recovery plan. The firm already began a review of its assets in October, which is ongoing.

The brand's year got off to a nightmare start after founder and former chief executive, Ray Kelvin, resigned from the company in March 2019 following allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards some of his staff, which he has denied.

Its latest profits warning is the fourth this year and its shares have lost 75% of their value since January. Shares plunged by more than 14.5% on the back of this morning's announcement to £341.20.

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